Musical

The Music Lovers (1970) Ken Russell, Richard Chamberlain, Glenda Jackson, Max Adrian, Drama, Biography, Music

The Music Lovers (1970)
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is given the Ken Russell treatment in The Music Lovers, which means that there is plenty of music, plenty of passion, plenty of debauchery, and plenty of excess. Tame by Russell’s later standards (Lisztomania), The Music Lovers nevertheless thrives on creative and sexual anguish. Richard Chamberlain plays Tchaikovsky with a bug-eyed intensity as a composer consumed by his art – so consumed that his romantic attachments become bisexual and irrational. He falls in love with Nina (Glenda Jackson), the hysterical trollop he marries with dire consequences. As he explodes emotionally, his public performance of Piano Concerto in B flat minor becomes a cue for flashbacks to a series of discomforting childhood events that suggest incestuous relations with his sister. Back in real time, Tchaikovsky has to deal with Nina’s outbursts while juggling his homosexual urges and his almost hidden desire for Count Anton Chiluvsky (Christopher Gable). The film also details the curious relationship between Tchaikovsky and his rich patroness, the middle-aged widow Madame Nadedja von Meck (Isabella Telezynska), who loves Tchaikovsky deeply, but refuses to meet him – their only communication being through letters, even though he lives on her estate. Andre Previn and the London Symphony Orchestra perform Tchaikovsky’s music.

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The Blue Angel / Der blaue Engel (1930) Josef von Sternberg, Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich, Kurt Gerron, Drama, Music

The Blue Angel (1930)
Concerned that some of his students are being corrupted by the entertainment at a local club, the Blue Angel, Professor Immanuel Rath pays a visit to the establishment intent on having his charges barred from the premises. There however he meets Lola Lola and quickly becomes infatuated with her and thus begins the professor’s downward spiral. They are married but he is forced to leave his teaching position and is soon working at odd jobs for the traveling cabaret troupe. When the troupe once again finds itself performing at the Blue Angel, Rath visits his old school, a broken man.

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The Jazz Singer (1927) Alan Crosland, Al Jolson, May McAvoy, Warner Oland, Drama, Musical

The Jazz Singer (1927)
Cantor Rabinowitz is concerned and upset because his son Jakie shows so little interest in carrying on the family’s traditions and heritage. For five generations, men in the family have been cantors in the synagogue, but Jakie is more interested in jazz and ragtime music. One day, they have such a bitter argument that Jakie leaves home for good. After a few years on his own, now calling himself Jack Robin, he gets an important opportunity through the help of well-known stage performer Mary Dale. But Jakie finds that in order to balance his career, his relationship with Mary, and his memories of his family, he will be forced to make some difficult choices.

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Stormy Weather (1943) Andrew L. Stone, Lena Horne, Bill Robinson, Cab Calloway, Musical

Stormy Weather (1943)
Dancing great Bill ‘Williamson’ sees his face on the cover of Theatre World magazine and reminisces: just back from World War I, he meets lovely singer Selina Rogers at a soldiers’ ball and promises to come back to her when he “gets to be somebody.” Years go by, and Bill and Selina’s rising careers intersect only briefly, since Selina is unwilling to “settle down.” Will she ever change her mind? Concludes with a big all-star show hosted by Cab Calloway.

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